Labor News Brief (March 11-March 17)

Editors: Cai Xia, Leo Liu, Chen Shanshan, Kevin Slaten

Xie Zilong: Appeal to aid the medical and living costs of migrant workers with black lung. (China Economic News, 2013/3/11). Recently, a China Economic Times reporter was informed that the representative of 12th National People’s Congress, Chairman of Laobaoxing Pharmacy Chain Co., Ltd., Xie Zilong, proposed Recommendations on Practically Solving Migrant Workers Medical and Living Assistance Issues. The Recommendations are as follows. 1) Simplify the identification process of the occupational black lung. 2) The government provides medical and living assistance for black lung patients who cannot find the main party legally responsible for the injury or are not covered by the injury insurance. The government also should include black lung in the conditions covered by urban and rural residents’ basic medical insurance. 3) There should be major production of medicine for the treatment of black lung. 4) Implementation of the prepaid system for the work-related injury insurance benefits. 5) Establish funds to assist and compensate those who contract black lung. 6) Improve the labor and employment system and compel employers to pay for the employees’ work-related insurance. 7) Strengthen supervision and severely punish those employers who have serious labor law violation problems. 8) Establish accountability mechanisms and strengthen the regulatory responsibilities of government departments. 9) Research new technologies and methods to prevent the generation of black lung at its earliest stage. 10) Amend Rules on Black Lung Prevention and Control of the People’s Republic of China promulgated in 1987.

Woman suspected to have jumped from factory building as a result of marriage dispute. (Sohu News, 2012/3/12) Yesterday at 16:40, in the Mitsuhiro electronic factory located in the Western District Xiangshuihe Industrial Zone of Daya Bay, a woman worker suddenly fell from the 5th floor of the factory to the 2nd floor balcony. According to the local police in Huiyang, the woman is not in critical condition. The reason that she jumped from the floor is suspected to be having had a bitter quarrel with her husband.

Not counted as an injury if the person isn’t dead? (Sina News, 2013/3/13)Yin Guangan, a construction worker, had a sudden stroke at work and was sent to the hospital. After 30 hours of rescue procedures, Yin Guangan’s family was concerned about being able to pay for the treatment. In order to get 160,000 RMB in compensation from the Mr. Yin’s labor dispatch company, the family decided to take Mr. Yin off life support. But the company insisted that the hospital to not let Mr. Yin off life support for 48 hours. The company demanded this because if Mr. Yin were to pass away after 48 hours, the company is not liable for life support. “It is time to amend the definition of work-related injuries. It is considered a work-related injury only if people pass away within 48 hours,” said Luo Maoxiang, a committee member and vice president of General Labor Union of Sichuan Province.

Workers threaten to jump off building for unpaid wages. (, 2013/3/13) “We worked our butts off for half a year, but in the end the boss did not pay a penny to us. What’s the point of living?” Cried two men on March 5 at the Shanghaixi Road police station of Jinfeng District Public Security Bureau after being rescued from jumping off a building for back pay promised to them. They finally received their wages with the help of the police.

A worker dormitory at a construction site in Zhengzhou caught fire and casualties were unknown (Tencent News, 2013/03/14) – At around 8:50 AM, a sudden fire broke out at a construction site in Zhengzhou. The fire started at the worker dormitory. The reporter witnessed the ferocity of the fire, which swallowed two dorm buildings. As the fire spread, dozens of makeshift houses were at risk. At 9:07 AM, the fire department had arrived at the scene and started to put out the fire. The cause of the fire is currently unknown.

Five workers have hand injuries in three years at a wood company; employer claims that some workers do that intentionally.(, Mar 14) –Within three years between 2006 and 2009, six migrant workers were injured at the Changchun Baichuan Wood Company. Five of them had their fingers cut off and one was injured in the eye by sawdust. None of the six workers has signed any labor contracts with the company, nor have were they covered by social insurance. Si Yixian, the manager of Baichuan Wood Company, who is also a representative in the Changcun People’s Congress, a member of the Nong’an County political consultative committee CPPCC, the vice chairman of Nong’an County Chamber of Commerce, and one of the “100 Exemplary Women of 2010”, believes that some of the workers injure themselves on purpose in order to blackmail her.

“Celebrity Labor Contractor” trapped in a triangle debt in Dongguan: 80 employees are owed over seven million RMB. (, 2013/03/18) – The wage arrears case of over seven million RMB for 83 workers have dragged out for over three years. On March 18, dozens of worker representatives claimed that the labor contractor was He Wenyuan, a world renowned Chinese who worked on projects such as Window of the World and China the Beautiful. He Wenyuan, on the other hand, complains that such a triangle debt is caused by some rogue developers in Dongguan who are in arrears. The police department is investigating the matter.

Growing pains for directly elected labor unions. ( Mar. 18) – Nine months after direct election, the labor union representative at Oumu Electronics is about to be removed from office, reflecting a lack of agreement between labor, the company, and the state union. More than nine month ago, Zhao Shaobo, who was directly elected as the president of the company’s labor union, did not expect that he would be subject to a crisis of confidence in such short term.

Investigation shows that nearly 40% floating population does not have overtime pay. (Shehuiwanxiang, March 19, 2013) According to the Telephone Investigation Report of the Floating Population Returning Home during the Spring Festival of 2013, 39.6 percent of interviewees said that they did not receive overtime pay and 5.4 percent said that they did not know if they received overtime pay. This investigation, conducted by the National Population and Family Planning Commission, was completed at the end of February 2013 and was based on interviews with 10,013 people from the transient population. This interview also asked the intent of people in the floating population to return from the places of their household registration after the spring festival holiday. Among these interviewees, 81.9 percent of them have rural residence registration.

A mining worker receives compensation after three years of struggle, does not regret using his own life in exchange for his daughter’s tuition. (Shehuiwanxiang,, 2013/03/20) – Yesteraday, Lan Tianzhong, from his hometown in Sichuan, received his compensation from the Fangshan Court. He, together with 15 other mining colleagues, suffered from black lung. After three years of rights defense struggle, Mr. Lan finally collected 73,000 RMB. He hugged Justice Zhang Shengli and continued saying “thank you!” Last night, in order to save on the cost of a hotel, Mr. Lan returned home. He said he had not thought about how to use this amount of money but he did not regret descending into the mine. He said, “If I regretted it, my two children could not go to college. I have already lived a difficult life. I just hope that I can use my own life in exchange a better life for my children.”

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